Thursday, 17 August 2017
Blenheim Palace - Part 2
The original gardens at Blenheim Palace were designed and constructed at the same time as the house. They were designed by Henry Wise (1653-1738) who was Royal Gardener to both Queen Anne and King George I. The garden design was based on the elaborate formal style of the time as seen at Versailles.
In the 18th century the 4th Duke employed Lancelot "Capability" Brown (1715-83) who was inspired by the romanticism of the Picturesque movement. His landscapes were designed to look completely natural but in fact were man-made.
The 9th Duke commissioned the French landscape architect Achille Duchene to design the Italian Garden and the water terraces.
Apologies in advance - there are a lot of photos!!!!!
Timothy having a rest before exploring the gardens and parkland.
After lunch we first of all walked around the Water Terraces which consist of 3 terraces and were created between 1925 and 1931.
Bernini's River-god fountain
Timothy making friends with an eagle statue.
Timothy looks a trifle uncertain about this cherub statue.
For a while we watched a cricket match taking place on a lawn near the house.
The Temple of Diana built by the 4th Duke and where Sir Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine in in 1908.
The Churchill Memorial Garden
where a 90 metre path shows milestones in the 90 years of Sir Winston's life.
We continued along the path to the Rose Garden seeing many beautiful trees.
The Rose Garden
We continued downhill and through the Arboretum which includes a Cedar of Lebanon planted by Capability Brown, which is believed to have the biggest girth for this species in the UK, together with a stand of cricket bat willows and incense cedars plus many other beautiful tree specimens. Across the lake in High Park there are also around 900 ancient English Oaks.
Eventually you reach The Grand Cascade with a Swiss bridge built by Lancelot Brown in the 1760's.
We walked back to the Water Terraces along the lakeside walk which was very picturesque and I would imagine would look particularly lovely in the autumn.
Finally, back at the Water Terraces - it was quite a long walk!
The Italian Garden which you can't enter as it is used as the family's personal garden (not sure I would fancy sitting out there during visiting hours with people gawping over the hedge!).
The Secret Garden
This was lovely with winding paths through miniature gardens and not too many people in here! It was first planted during the time of the 10th Duke and renovated with additional features in 2004 by the former Head Gardener, Trevor Wood, as part of the Battle of Blenheim tercentenary celebrations.
Then it was onto the Pleasure Gardens - I was hoping we could catch the little train - but B not happy that there was a charge so we walked!
Plenty of hollow old trees - great for young children.
This is an area for families with an adventure playground, exhibition and butterfly house plus a maze. Near the butterfly house there was a small garden and a lavender garden (sadly no longer in flower)
Butterflies and Zebra finches
By this stage my feet were really aching (oh the joys of getting older) so I sat and had a coffee while the rest of the family walked to the centre of the Marlborough Hedge Maze which is planted with 3000 yews and covers 1.8 acres.
This was a photo D took earlier in the day where the zoom on the bridge camera came in handy. It is the Doric Column of Victory which is located at the entrance to the Grand Avenue. It is 41 metres high and is topped by a lead statue of the First Duke and was constructed between 1727 and 1730.
We finally left at about 6.00 and luckily traffic on the way home wasn't too bad.
*D photos taken by D with the Canon bridge camera SX50
Reference - Guide Book to Blenheim Palace